This post was a great suggestion from Alexa over at Single Moms Income. If you have a topic you’d like me to write about on My Money Design, please feel free to comment or send me an email. Read any article about money and what will it tell you? Start an IRA! You know the benefits. You know it’s good for your finances. But what if you don’t have a lot of money to put in one? Where can you find the best IRA provider without having to open an account with thousands of dollars? Never fear! You’ve got options. In this age of online accounts and competition, more and more IRA … [Read more...] about Who is the Best IRA Provider When You Don’t Have Much Money to Open an Account?
The end of the year is full of things to do: Celebrate the holidays with family, prepare for the winter, get your tax information together, etc. But one very important chore we often forget to perform is re-evaluating our investment portfolios. Unless you review them, how do you know if the investments you own are performing well? Are they still helping you to reach your goals? Are there better choices out there? This is exactly what I’m looking to do with our Roth IRA funds. Both my wife and I both have a Roth IRA through Vanguard which we max out every year. Our belief is that … [Read more...] about My Picks for Vanguard Mutual Funds for Our Roth IRA
At many times throughout this series and especially in Part 2, I told you not to worry just yet about your individual credit card purchases and to treat them all as one “big category”. The reason I did this is because I didn’t want our lesson to get hung up on analyzing credit card purchases to death. You have a lot of other bills besides a credit card, and most of them are fixed each month. As we’ve already shown, knowing what you’re going to spend each month versus what you’re going to take in is extremely helpful in creating a budget. But in no way does this mean that we should ignore … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Making It Easy with Mint
Time to test the gold in fire. Earlier I told you that a well designed budget would be the key to money management and staying within your means. This is still true. If you’ve created something that is tailored for you, meets your goals, and is comfortable enough for you to live with, then you should do well. All of this would be great if “you” were the only person this budget was for. The problem is that it’s not just “you”. A budget is usually for you, your spouse, and your family. Although that doesn’t sound like a lot, there’s a lot going on inside that group. Just like how a company … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Step 7 – Sticking to the Plan!
So after Step 5, does your budget meet our goals? Did you make adjustments and sacrifices? Do you have a positive balance for each month throughout the year? Is less money going out than is coming in? If so, then you are ready to move on to adding in your investment goals. Notice we didn’t do this in any of the previous steps. This is because you have get your business in order before you can start getting advanced with your budget - You have to walk before you can run. After we’re meeting our basic set of goals, let’s start digging a little deeper and adding in our investment goals. … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Step 6 – Adding In Your Investment Goals
Every great budget follows one simple formula: • [ Money In > Money Out ] = Good Or in other words … • [ Money In – Money Out > $0 ] = Good Basically you’ve got to have more money “coming in” than “going out”. Any other way is just a recipe for disaster! Don’t under-estimate how incredibly powerful this equation is. Everyday, people make the mistake of buying things on credit that they can’t afford or taking on payments when their income simply can’t sustain it. It’s simple physics that you can never have more going out than coming in. … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Step 5 – Apply the Formula for Success
As I’ve already expressed, your entire year is not just one month multiplied times 12. Your year is full of different events and one-time events that can greatly influence your money. The next step is to capture all those things in your 12-month snapshot. Here are a few to start with: … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Step 4 – Add In Those Special Times
Now here is where your budget will become far more advanced than everyone else’s: • Copy your one-month column 12 times so that you cover all 12 months! Yes, our budget is going to go for the whole year. What’s Wrong With One-Month Budgets? Lots: … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Step 3 – Take It All The Way to 12 Months
Take that list of your major expenses you created in Step 1 and list them for one month. Create one column and put your rows of expenses near the bottom half of the page. Income Now let’s go up to the top of the column. This is where we will list your income for the month. For most of us, that will simply be your paychecks and your spouse’s paychecks. Congratulations if you have other significant forms of income. Some examples might be: … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Step 2 – Income Vs Expense
THIS IS NOT going to be one of those “how-to” examples where you’re told to record ever purchase you’ve ever made. Doing that accomplishes NOTHING but wasting a lot of time. Besides, Mint.com can already do this for you automatically. I’ll have more on that later in this series. Instead, look back through your checkbook from the past few months. What were your MAJOR expenses? Make a list of them. I highly recommend using Microsoft Excel if possible. And yes, there will be a link to the template we create throughout this series at the end. Here are a few examples: … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Step 1 – Where Does All My Money Go?